Rail Inquiry MPs' Europe Visit

6 July 2011, 07:52 | Updated: 6 July 2011, 08:05

MPs looking into whether Britain needs a new high speed rail line have gone on a two-day trip to France and Germany.

Members of the Transport Select Committee have gone on the fact-finding trip to see if there are lessons Britain can learn from the use of High Speed Rail in Europe.

The government want to spend more than £30bn building a new high speed rail line linking London and the Midlands, and later northern England and Scotland.  They're proposing to build it through countryside in Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, passing close to places like Brackley, Tingewick and Aylesbury.

There's strong opposition to the plans, with a number of campaigners claiming Britain doesn't need a new rail line, and that existing links should be upgraded instead.  The government insist a new High Speed Line is needed to make sure Britain's economy can stay competitive in the twenty-first century.

Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart, who's one of the MPs on the trip, has been telling Heart he's in favour of High Speed Rail in principle, but not necessarily the plans that are currently on the table.

He thinks it's important lots of research is done before any decisions are made over whether to go ahead with the project.

"Potentially it could revolutionise rail transport in Britain but if we don't get it right, it could be a huge amount of money for something that doesn't work properly," he said.

A consultation's been taking place, where people living near the planned line have had a chance to give their views on the project.